McGee the bright spark on tough day for Irish at Q-School

Ronan MacNamara

Ruaidhri McGee (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Derry’s Ruaidhri McGee was the shining light for the Irish sextet on day one of the Final Stage of DP World Tour Q-School on the Lakes and Hills courses at Infinitum.

McGee who plays out of Rosapenna carded a fine three-under 69 on the Hills Course to lie in fifteenth place with five rounds to go.

The top-25 will qualify after six gruelling rounds of strokeplay this week and the remaining five Irish will all be clinging to the fact that there is plenty of time to make a comeback and at least make the 72-hole cut.

The K Club’s Conor O’Rourke (72) and Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy (71) are in a share of 73rd place on level-par. McElroy roared out of the traps with three successive birdies but followed up with four consecutive bogeys before a first par of the day on 17 was followed by a birdie on 18 to cap a rollercoaster front nine.

Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell was five-over after six holes but managed to salvage a three-over 74.

Meanwhile, it was a tough Final Stage debut for Mark Power and Conor Purcell who both slumped to damaging rounds of 76 to lie in T140 on four-over-par.

Jeppe Kristian Andersen will take a one-shot lead into the second round after posting a brilliant seven under par round of 64 on the Lakes Course.

The Dane carded nine birdies and two bogeys to climb to the top of the leaderboard and move one ahead of Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen in second place.

Andersen, who played in last week’s Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final supported by The R&A, believes his ability to adapt to windy conditions was paramount to his success in round one.

“It was a very nice round of golf,” he said. “I played the Challenge Tour Grand Final last week in Mallorca, so I am very used to the wind.

“The wind at the Lakes Course today was brutal and I just used my experience from last week. The wind was honest in direction and being from Denmark I am able to adapt my game in these conditions.

“I had to trust the conditions today because the fairways were quite wide but it is still scary to start the ball over the water and rely on the wind to bring it back into play. That was the key for me today.

“The Hills Course will be tighter tomorrow so I will use more irons off the tee to keep the ball in the fairway. I will adopt a similar game plan, but I will need to adjust my ball flight to be slightly lower due to the altitude change up in the hills.”

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